I think one my biggest revelations in the past 2 years is that I'm an introvert. I know I've always been an introvert, but there are various occasions in my life where I made to feel shameful for being one. There were also times in my life I tried so hard to be an extrovert that I had no idea who the hell I was anymore. This is the first time in my life I'm starting feel comfortable being introverted, and I'm recognizing there isn't anything wrong with it.
Sadly, I think we live in world where introversion is often associated as being a negative trait. I was shy and quiet growing up at school. I had many teachers that wrote notes on my report card about how shy I was, and how I needed to work on making more friends and being more outgoing. I really resent a lot of this now, because if these teachers had only got to know me as an individual they really could of seen my potential and helped me grow as person. These teachers instead passed judgement on me and forcefully pushed me into extroversion. I am so thankful for some of the wonderful teachers I did have who identified my quiet nature as someone who is an profound thinker, and encouraged me to explore my mind, creativity, and thoughts more. I do think that the negative outweighed the positive growing up, and since I got more negative messages than positive ones, I eventually just assumed that my introversion was bad. This lead to me want to try to be an extrovert, which was an epic fail.
The busy and exciting outside world of an extrovert is what an introvert has on the inside. There are probably countless things running through my head at any given moment. It's hard to express to people what is going on in my inner world, and that can be frustrating. I live very internally, I'm sure people I encounter notice this about me. I really take everything in. I make observations. I like to get a feel for people and my surroundings. I'm sure this translates as being shy, but it's more that I'm just processing my environment.
I'm never going to be someone who is going to have a huge social circle. I can never walk into a social situation and be the life of the party. Honestly, I find social functions draining. I do much better one on one with people. I'm not much for small talk or random chitter chatter. It's painfully difficult for me. I like to make connections with people. I like to relate, share, and really get to know people. This means I have a smaller circle of friends, and it probably takes me awhile to gain new friends. I've really pushed myself into more social situations more recently. I'm not doing it so I can be more outgoing, but so I can expose myself to more people, and hopefully gain more close-knit friendships.
I also recognize I am hard to get to know. I do not let people in very easy, and the people I do let in...consider yourself very lucky! What's funny about that is that I do not even feel the slightest bit of discomfort being open on my blog. When it comes to real life situations though, I am very much a closed book. I think this is part introversion, and part my personality and insecurities. I really am a complex person. I have so many levels and layers, and I don't want everyone to have access to them. I definitely need my space and quiet time too or I start to not feel like myself. I have to get in touch with me to function authentically if that makes sense.
Authenticity in myself and in others is probably a #1 priority for me. I'm very intuitive about this as well. I can spot a phony person really quickly. I'm sure these things attribute to the "hard to get know" factor about me. I want to be 100% honest about myself and I expect the same from others. In ways this is a good trait, and has helped me steer clear of toxic people. It's also not a great trait either,as I need to work on being more accepting of my own flaws and others flaws. Trusting others is very challenging.
A lot of these things I'm describing, I used to hate about myself. I used to be so hard on myself for not being more outgoing, for needing to have my personal space, and for being so introspective. I never realized how much these traits benefit me. I realize a lot of these aspects of my personality are assets. I've made more friendships and I've made stronger ones. I decided to pursue my dream to be a teacher rather than follow a path I felt I should of been doing. I've become more confident sharing this part of myself with others. The most important thing is I'm starting to comfortable with myself, and who I am. That is the most rewarding. It's certainly not the end, it's a long journey ahead..but being the quiet and thoughtful one isn't bad!
Are you an introvert or and extrovert? Care to share any of your feelings on this subject?
P.S. I don't have anything against extroverts!